The NBA Game Breakdown takes an in-depth look at all of the games on the schedule each day in terms of expected pace of play, Vegas lines, and defense vs. position match ups.

 

Welcome Back NBA Friday

Welcome back NBA fans. We have a huge 13 game slate for DFS today and there’s a lot of money to be won. Make sure you check up on trades that went down and who is playing. A lot of line up shuffling could open some great value plays while it all works itself out. Check out Ethan Haskell’s article on DFS Trade Deadline Implications for more about this. Here’s some of the tournaments to target today:

$125,000 NBA Crossover @ $20 buy in

$50,000 Lay up @ $2 buy in

 

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Pacers @ Sixers

Game Analysis

Perfect game to illustrate my point about how crazy today is going to be. The Sixers traded half their team away before the deadline and with players in transit and learning new offenses the minutes tonight are anybody’s guess. For starters we do not know who is playing and who is not yet. We know MCW and KJ McDaniel who both have played major minutes this year are gone. In fact as of this writing I have no idea who the PG will be tomorrow or for the rest of the season. They could Resign Frazier before the game to another 10 day contract which would not surprise me. I can’t imagine they will be fielding an uber competitive team and that means there’s the potential for a very ugly game here. Maybe even a twenty point blowout which would be amazing coming from a team that never blows anyone out in the slower paced Indiana squad. Both Lavoy Allen and Ian Mahini are expected to be back, so the value has been sucked out of the Pacers front court with shared minutes expected. I’m going to stay away from this game as much as possible to be honest, but someone does have to score for Philly, right?

Line: Pacers -7.5, O/U 186.5

Players to Watch

  • Hollis Thompson, SF, Sixers ($4000)
  • Tim Frazier, PG, Sixers ($4300)
  • George Hill, PG, Pacers ($5200)
  • Soloman Hill, SG, Pacers ($3300)

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Pelicans @ Magic

Game Analysis

The early word is the Pelicans should have back both Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson for tomorrow. As soon as that was out the spread jumped from -3 to -5 and a half. The Magic have been one of the worst defensive teams over the past few weeks and despite the good news that Tobias Harris is probable to play it’s still going to be a tough game for them. They have played to the under in five of the last six due mostly to slower pace numbers. They have also seen their scoring take a dip so this makes some sense. The Pelicans had dropped a few games before the break, but they played those without their two PFs who handle a lot of the scoring, so I will give the healthy Pelicans team a little break on that one. Davis adds a lot to that defense and his presence against a struggling offense could prove to be a key to victory here. I think the Magic will struggle to score and limit the total possessions for both teams which will be bad for the Pelicans. Overall I think this game has very little if any fantasy relevance.

Line: Pelicans -5.5, O/U 196.5

Players to Watch

  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($10800)
  • Ryan Anderson, PF, Pelicans ($5200)
  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic ($8700)
  • Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic ($6900)

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Bulls @ Pistons

Game Analysis

Chicago stayed in tact during the deadline after coming into the all star break with 4 straight wins, three of which played to the under. The old school Bulls defense is back and a healthy squad has something to do with it. Noah looks like he is rounding back into form for the first time all season and Rose, Pau, and Butler are all playing well at the moment. The Pistons had a little surge and managed to get it together after losing Brandon Jennings to injury. DJ Augustin was a big reason and they up and traded him away yesterday for it. They get back Reggie Jackson from OKC, but I have no idea if he suits up or how much he plays. I do know Detroit has struggled to score some lately and losing DJ is not going to make it easier for them. Reggie Jackson is a capable player, but it will take some time for him to get acquainted with new teammates and systems. Whether or not he plays I like Chicago to keep the winning streak rolling along in this one.

Line: Chicago -6, O/U 197

Players to Watch

  • Greg Monroe, PF, Pistons ($8000)
  • Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, SG, Pistons ($3700)
  • Joakim Noah, C, Bulls ($6900)
  • Derrick Rose, PG, Bulls ($7900)

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Raptors @ Hawks

Game Analysis

This should be a very good game to watch and use for fantasy purposes. The Raptors have won three in a row and played to the under in four of five. The pace has slowed for them as both their scoring and their opponents scoring are down recently. The Hawks have lost 2 of their last three games and seen a few unders as well. They had won seven of the previous ten with the over hitting most often. This game features some solid match ups at the guard spots. Both Lowry and Teague have been a little worse on the defensive end recently and this game is expected to see a good deal of points and stay close. I like the Hawks at home to come out on top and think this game should see full run for all the starters.

Line: Hawks -4.5, O/U 204.5

Players to Watch

  • Demar DeRozan, SG, Raptors ($7200)
  • Amir Johnson, PF, Raptors ($4200)
  • Al Horford, C, Hawks ($7800)
  • Demarre Carroll, SF Hawks ($5200)

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Heat @ Knicks

Game Analysis

Wade is probable, Melo is out, and we are not sure if Goran Dragic plays yet. There were some other random pieces to that trade that all played wing minutes for Miami, so maybe this opens up some extra minutes for a Napier or a Chalmers. We know there’s going to be a lot of room on the Knicks. The younger Antetekounmpo was just called up and guys like Jason Smith have played well lately. No Idea if Shved will be in uniform for the Knicks, but I would not worry too much about any of them. We’ve seen the struggles without Melo and this team is just devoid of true NBA talent at the moment. It should be a Heat win and a monster game for the Heat inside. Rumor is Bosh was actually Hospitalized on Thursday so he may be out. Keep an eye on this as it ticks up Wade and Whiteside tremendously if he is.

Line: Heat -6, O/U ?

Players to Watch

  • Hassan Whiteside, C, Heat ($7600)
  • Dwayne Wade, SG, Heat ($7200)
  • Langston Galloway, PG, Knicks ($5200)
  • Jason Smith, PF, Knicks ($5000)

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Cavaliers @ Wizards

Game Analysis

Cleveland is healthy and rolling. Washington is one of the best defensive teams in the East and playing at home. This should be an excellent match up. The Cavs have been hanging a ton of points on people and the Wizards have one of the best statistical defenses in the league. Lately though the Wizards have been burned by big games from PGs and SFs. That’s not a good match up against probably one of the two best tandems at those positions in the NBA (With OKC arguably #1). The Cavs like the hotter pace and the Wizards have the firepower to play faster too. I doubt the Wizards can stop this high powered offense, but Vegas thinks they can slow them down since this is a very low spread for the Cavs recently. Overall I think the Cavs studs are in a great spot and would expect them to win this game today in a close one with starters playing much of the fourth quarter.

Line: Cavs -3, O/U 198

Players to Watch

  • Lebron James, SF, Cavs ($10200)
  • Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavs ($8000)
  • John Wall, PG, Wizards ($8600)
  • Nene Hilario, PF, Wizards ($4800)

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Suns @ Timberwolves

Game Analysis

Minnesota gets Garnett and loses Thad Young, so I think the biggest positive there is for Gorgui Dieng who should see some time alongside Pekovic at the PF spot now. As for the Suns they traded away Goran Dragic and IT2, which only leaves Bledsoe until the newly acquired Brandon Knight gets into town. May be tonight, maybe not though. Keep an eye on the news. What we do know is both teams like to play fast. Both teams like to shoot three’s and both score some points. The total is one of the highest and the spread one of the lowest, so it’s a game we need to have a piece of for fantasy purposes. I like the minutes for the Suns back court and the Wolves front court tonight if both do wind up shorthanded because of recent trades.

Line: Timberwolves -2, O/U 211.5

Players to Watch

  • Eric Bledsoe, SG, Suns ($8000)
  • Gerald Green, SG, Suns ($3000)
  • Gorgui Dieng, C, Timberwolves ($4800)
  • Kevin Martin, SG, Timberwolves ($6300)

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Nuggets @ Bucks

Game Analysis

Well the Bucks thought they would have trouble resigning Knight so they shipped him out of town. MCW is on his way in, but no one knows yet if he plays today. If he doesn’t it should mean a huge game for Jerryd Bayless if he is healthy. He left the last game with an injury and is listed as questionable. This is something interesting to keep an eye on. The Nuggets shipped off Aaron Afflalo so Randy Foye should see a bump in minutes. There’s so many questions surrounding this one that Vegas has not released a line yet. If I had more clarity on who was in I could give you more, but this is a game to keep an eye on throughout the day.

Line: Bucks -2, O/U ?

Players to Watch

  • Kris Midleton, SG, Bucks ($6500)
  • Zaza Pachulia, C, Bucks ($3700)
  • Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets ($8500)
  • Randy Foye, SG, Nuggets ($3000)

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Rockets @ Mavericks

Game Analysis

Two teams relatively in tact after the trade deadline. Dwight Howard is still out so the minutes for Josh Smith and Donatas Motiejunas remain. This also frees up a few more minutes for Ariza and Brewer at the 2/3, so much of the recent Rocket success remains. The Mavericks should have Rondo and Tyson Chandler again tonight. They both played yesterday and have been banged up, so watch and make sure they are not rested on this back to back. Both these teams like to play fast and this is another of those high total low spread games we like for fantasy purposes. I think you need to have some exposure to this one, but be mindful of the rising prices on the Rockets and the lower minutes due to a healthy Mavs squad. They will not all make value today.

Line: Mavs -2, O/U 211

Players to Watch

  • James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10500)
  • Josh Smith, SF, Rockets ($6900)
  • Tyson Chandler, C, Mavericks ($6700)
  • Monta Ellis, SG, Mavericks ($7300)

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Trailblazers @ Jazz

Game Analysis

The big news for Utah is they solved the log jam at the big man spot by getting rid of Kanter. Rudy Gobert is now firmly in play for minutes and very low priced today. Even against a tough Blazers front line he is a must start for me at his price.Other than that everything else seems to be normal here. The Blazers should win this one as they are the more talented team. This may be one of the last days to get huge minutes from Batum and Matthews before the reinforcements arrive, but I would shy away from both considering the total here is not that high. I think there’s better spots to target at SG/SF, so be selective with who you roll out in this one.

Line: Blazers -5, O/U 195

Players to Watch

  • Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz ($4500)
  • Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz ($8100)
  • Robin Lopez, C, Blazers ($4900)
  • Damian Lilliard, PG, Blazers ($8600)

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Celtics @ Kings

Game Analysis

The Celtics added a few new pieces and lost their leading scorer to an injury. Without Sullinger and without time to incorporate new pieces I think there’s a lot of points to be had here. Brandon Bass and Jae Crowder stand out as two guys who could benefit from it. The Kings remained intact over the deadline for the most part. They did trade Sessions and Collison is still banged up, so Ray McCallum should see extended run today at min price. Gay and Cousins should handle the scoring as usual, but Ben McLemore has been playing well and remains dirt cheap. The Kings are favored here and the Celtics have been one of the worst teams ever against big men, so Cousins should shine. The total here is really high and the spread is close, so definitely a game I will look to use tonight.

Line: Kings -3, O/U 204.5

Players to Watch

  • Demarcus Cousins, C, Kings ($10600)
  • Ray McCallum, PG, Kings ($3000)
  • Evan Turner, PG, Celtics ($4800)
  • Jae Crowder, PF, Celtics ($3400)

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Nets @ Lakers

Game Analysis

It’s looking like Jarrett Jack might have to sit this one out just like he did with practice yesterday. That means D. Williams is a must start if so. Trading Garnett opens up more minutes for Lopez and Plumlee to play together, so that alone was a good move for the Nets. Thad Young is on his way to create a log jam again, but might not be there in time for tonight. The Lakers have been epically bad guarding bigs and PGs this year so all those guys could be in play. For LA, the minutes have been sporadic lately. One game Boozer has 30, the next it’s Ed Davis and Sacre. Very tough to figure out the rotations for them at present. Clarkson and Ellington continue to be cheap and get big minutes, so they are worth a look too. Overall this is not a very high total so some exposure is ok, but don’t over do it.

Line: Nets -3, O/U 192.5

Players to Watch

  • Derron Williams, PG, Nets ($5000)
  • Brook Lopez, C, Nets ($6600)
  • Jordan Clarkson, Pg, Lakers ($4900)
  • Wayne Ellington, SG, Lakers ($4700)

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Warriors @ Spurs

Game Analysis

This should be an interesting match up in the Defending champs home. The Spurs are healthy again with Kawhi back and everyone available for tonight. They will need all hands on deck to slow down the juggernaut that is this Warriors team. Neither Parker nor Steph is considered a plus defender at this point so both should have some room to operate. It’s likely Bogut will be in so that makes it a tougher match up for Duncan although he should see big minutes and does have a low price. I like both SFs in this one and they both have solid prices. Draymond at $6900 and Kawhi at $7300 are some of the cheaper prices we have seen either guy at this season. San Antonio went into Golden State and handed them a 13 point loss early in the season, so there’s nothing that says this can’t stay close too. Spurs are on a back to back so you always got to watch out for guys sitting, but this should be a good game with a lot of points that I think is closer than Vegas expects.

Line: Warriors -7, O/U 207

Players to Watch

  • Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs ($7300)
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($7300)
  • Draymond Green, SF, Warriors ($6900)
  • Stephen Curry, PG, Warriors ($9900)